Saturday, June 27, 2009

It's June and we are melting

Good grief. It's JUNE, people, and we are reaching 98+ degrees!!! It's JUNE. We still have July, August and September to go. Even October is hot for us. I dunno what we are gonna do. Swimming pools feel like bathtubs. The hurricanes stripped lots of trees of the upper branches and simply uprooted others. Those trees sure helped keep the ground a bit cooler. It's bad when you wake up at 7am and it's already in the 80s.

And there is my husband, working out in the heat all day. :( What a wonderful man to do all her does to provide for his family. We are blessed.

With all this heat, I tend to keep the shades closed and the curtains drawn; no reason to heat up the house anymore than it needs to be, right? The heat puts a damper on cooking. I want cool meals to cook. I'd eat pasta salads and egg salad and chicken salad.. and salads.. but sometimes you just want some FOOD. Naturally, I want all the foods that require long cooking time.. and oven cooking. Not gonna happen. When summer hits, I try to use the crockpot more and the roaster instead of the oven. Crockpots are not just for soups and stews! They cook all kinds of scrumptious things. Check out http://crockpot365.blogspot.com/ She gives reviews of the foods she cooks AND has pictures. I love pictures on a blog. :)

I am off this weekend. The kids wanted to go shopping. I knew a day of shopping was going to leave us very hungry. Hmm... I know! Baked potatoes in the crockpot! I started them before we left - sprinkled with salt and garlic powder, wrapped in foil. I checked them when we got home and moved the knob to low. We stopped at the store on the way home for potatoe fixings. I must remember to do this more often. I have also been so hungry for potatoe soup.

The kids hit good sales at Old Navy and Rue 21. Then we popped over to the library so they could get on the computers. Yes, i know i have a computer at home but it's my work computer, and everytime the kids got online they picked up a virus. MYspace is horrible for viruses. So, I take them to the library for their computer time. It has worked great so far. Once a week of an hour computer time... and they can check out books and videos, cds and even books on players ... works for us. No more squabbles about the computer or worries about viruses messing up my computer. :)

Richard found the radio tuner for my ipod in the truck! Yeah! Now can jam to the songs WE like. No more commercials or music i don't approve.

Time to stretch out and watch some tv until supper. It's been a great day.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Ipod, it's magically working again.

My oldest got an Ipod for Christmas one year. She loved it and loaded it with songs. Then she discovered transmittors to play the Ipod thru the car speakers. There she was zipping along to her favorites with no commercials. 100% sweet jamming!

That came to screeching halt when the Ipod suddenly stopped working. Thankfully, I bought the 3-yr service plan. She finally called for them to send her paperwork to ship it off. She was so hoping for a new Ipod with more memory if they could not fix hers.

She has yet to ship it off. Last night we were "geeking" (sitting in the recliners with our laptops while online and listening to music) And yes, she would send me the occasional message via internet LOL Shes so commical! She wanted her Ipod since she has her own laptop and was fussing herself for not sending it off yet. She wanted to try and plug it in to see if it worked.

HELLO! Ipod working! She was so happy. This morning she texted on her way to work that she was jamming and it was working. I'm thinking she left it in the car and it got too hot.. or it was totally drained. Either way, it's working now and she is so happy.

My computer at home is used for work. Works' software conflicts with Itunes. Therefore, no Itunes for us. GRRR. I was so happy to hear soon I would get a computer from work and my computer would be mine again! Whoohoo. Itunes was first on the list. My son now has an Ipod and wanted to put some CDs on his Ipod. He used friends' Itunes and synced his Ipod to them. Smart!

I went to my sister's awhile back and took my Ipod along. She has a very N.I.C.E. one and has been loading it up with music for a good while now. I synced mine with hers. Instant music. We have very similar taste and I have not been disappointed with any song I have heard so far. Oldies, new, pop, rock, Christian - She's got it covered. I'm in business. Now to get the care transmitter. That's next on my list.

Once I got my lap top fixed I was practically running out the door from the store to get home and load itunes. I could now fill that Ipod UP! I have put a few CDs on there. I'm also working on listening to all the current songs and deleting the ones I don't want. 1161 songs! That's enough for 3 days worth of listening. I'm trying to save a little room so i can have a Christmas section!

I love putting the headphones (yes my headphones!) on and dancing around the room. There are just some songs that you cannot sit still while listening to them. Isn't technology wonderful?

Monday, June 15, 2009

Menu Monday

Menu for the week in no particular order:

Monday cheeseburger pie; veggie on the side or hamburger patties cooked in a brown gravy

Tuesday Pepper steak; rice; veggie

Wednesday Spag or lasagna; garlic bread; salad

Thursday Meeting at school - leftovers

Friday I'm OFF - I may put red beans cooking in the slow cooker so I don't have to worry about supper.

Summer is HERE and it's hot. I need meals that are cool! Any ideas?

Saturday, June 13, 2009

How i have missed my laptop!

My daughter bought a laptop last week. I asked about having my old one fixed. YES!

I picked it up and took it home after 3 days in the shop. Why did I wait this long to see about getting it fixed?

I got it home and it did not work. I returned to the store.

They kept it for a few days. I picked it up tonight. It was doing the same thing. They fixed it. Software conflict!!

My laptop is humming away and I"m soo happy to be able to sit in my chair or take it to the kichen (for recipes!) or lie in the bed and surf. Ahhh.. I forgot how nice it was to sit outside or take it with me places.

I work on my PC all day. I hate sitting there at night on my off time to get online. Now, I don't have to! I am soo happy.

Friday, June 12, 2009

So much pride!

Richard and I are busting at the seams! Jessica got the news she wanted. She'll start training as a hystology technician in 2 weeks. We are so very proud of her.

WTG, Jessica!! You are on your way in the adult world. Daddy and I are so happy for you.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Taxes

A reminder - second quarter taxes are due on Monday. Use this the next few days wisely to get your papers/checks/money/envelopes/stamps in order.

And it doesn't hurt to mail them earlier either!

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Routines

My MIL stopped by the other day. Her husband passed away in 2005 - right after the hurricane. I cannot image going through all that alone. She still has rough spots, and here lately is one. I try to do what I can. Having never been through that, I'm kinda at a loss. I figured just listening is best.

We got on the topic of routines and depression. EVERYONE has highs and lows. Hormones? Life? Whatever it is, we all go through it. I was very depressed after the hurricane - and rightly so. I did not see it at the time. Why not? Well, because I was depressed. Plain and simple.

Back to routines. I have found that even when I don't want to get out of the bed in the morning, or cook, or go anywhere, or talk to anyone.. if I continue with my daily routines - you know, Flylady - that I will pull out of my slump faster than if I do nothing. It's just too easy to say "I'll get back to that." That lends to more talk of "I'll get back to that." And it never happens. The clutter spreads and just makes you feel worse. Something about going through the motions of my daily routine and not having to think about them is comforting. It may be bare minimum.. but something is getting done!

I can see my MILs face get brighter. Routines! Yes! She's smiling now. Routines let you know what to expect, what to prepare, what to do. 24 hours is a long time to do nothing when you are alone in a house. At least a routine would give you something to busy youself, your house would be picked up, and you would FEEL BETTER.

My husband sat there looking at us like we were crazy HAHA. I have the BEST MIL in the whole world. I'd do anything to take her pain away. I want her to be happy. On this day.. listening and sharing seemed to do the trick.

Time to start my routine!

Sunday, June 07, 2009

My homemade yogurt

I tried following Ms. Maggi's recipe for homemade yogurt. The first batch was wonderful. AFter that ... ehh.. it never came out right. Then I tried the crockpot version, thinking it would stay the same temperature evenly. Hmm.. it was runny and looked like clumpy, sour milk.

So, I combined the 2 recipes. This is how I made mine:

8 cups milk
1/2 cup powdered milk
1/2 cup yogurt with live cultures - room temp
crockpot
thermometer
wisk
bathtowel

Place 8 cups milk into the crockpot. Stir in the powdered milk with wisk. Put on low, checking temp. often. It must reach 180 degrees! It took MY crockpot 4 1/2 hours on low to reach 180 degrees. Turn off crockpot and allow to cool down to 110 degrees. This took my crockpot 2 1/4 hours - again, check the temp. Wisk in the yogurt. Cover with bath towel and let sit for 6 hours. Spoon into containers and place in fridge. It should last 7 - 10 days.

You will then have plain yogurt. It will be thick and creamy. You can add sugar, honey, etc., and fruits for flavoring. I add mine in as I go. Most of the time, I don't sweeten it and put it on top of 1 cup of cheerios. mix and eat. MMMM

Things to remember:
Temp is very important. Use a thermometer. The milk must reach 180 degrees to "prepare" the milk (that's the best way to put it).

I add the powdered milk to thicken up the final product. You can play with that amount until you get it how you like it.

The milk must cool down to 110-115 degrees before you add the yogurt, too hot and it will kill the good stuff in the yogurt you are adding to the mix.

It's really thick and much better than the store-bought stuff. I buy a large container of yogurt (Dannon with live cultures) and freeze 1/2 cup portions to use as starters later on.

You can also strain some yogurt to get the whey. I'm still looking up uses for whey. The thickened yogurt will now be like.. sour cream to me. Most sites say it is like cream cheese. I find it still very tart for cream cheese. It's very thick but creamy. I'm sure you could sweeten it with a little bit of jelly.. MMMM

If you make yogurt in the crockpot, tell me how it worked for you.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

It's a date!

Tonight we are headed to a friends' house. A couple of her family members play music and they are gathering at their house to have a jam session. There will be French music, country music and gospel music.

I cannot think of a better way to spend the evening - good friends, good time, good food, and good music.

I"ll dance one for you!

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Homemade - yogurt and kefir

I just got some homemade yogurt started in the crockpot. Hopefully all goes well. The first time I made yogurt it came out soo good. Since then.. ehh.. it's okay. I'm sure I had beginners luck. I have tried making yogurt at night, but I had to stay up so late because I started it so late. Last night while contemplating staying up late, it dawned on me - hello? Make it during the day, first thing in the morning.

I also tried my hand at making homemade kefir. I used some store-bought kefir and added it to some whole milk and let it sit on the counter. It seemed to firm up more after I put it in the icebox (fridge for those of you not in Louisiana). It tastes very much like the one from the store, but I"m afraid to drink it LOL I know yogurt and buttermilk and even kefir can be made from a "starter". My store-bought kefir says live on it. I want to get some freeze-dried kefir from the health food store and compare it to that. Even from the freeze-dried starter I can make a few batches using a starter from the previous batch.

I really like homemade yogurt. It's soo much better than the ones in the store. Summer is here and the kids will be wanting to make shakes and have snacks. This should help some with the cost. Most importantly - it tastes soo much better.

I also plan to make some cream cheese from the yogurt. We use a lot of cream cheese around here. I'm curious as to how the homemade one compares to the cream cheese in the store.

Now, to do some research on the whey that will separate from the yogurt to make the cream cheese.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

May spending

I'm sure there were some other purchases here and there during the month. May was a busy month. I decided to keep a tally of my savings along with my spending. I like being able to see how much we are spending/saving on food. It's an eye opener. I also need to update my pricebook.

The kids are out of school for the summer. I anticipate my grocery bill to increase a tad. :)

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Busy weekend.

I had a nonstop weekend even though I was off.

Friday afternoon, my friends and I decided to go garage saling Saturday morning. We hadn't been in a good while and wanted to spend time together and have some fun. Never a dull moment with us. I picked up a few things. Nothing major, well, except for Sarah's "crunches". Better known as crutches.

Oh yes. She gave me a hard time for not buying her some "crunches" to play with and has never let me live it down. So, when I saw some more for sale I scooped them up. She has had the best time with those silly thing LOL She loves to "ride them" as she refers to using them to walk. Silly girl! Best 3.00 I spent.

Jessica bought a computer on Saturday. She's really growing up! She discovered that owning a computer is much more than plunking down the money in the add. There are virus protectors and wireless cable and routers.. and of course - fun in being able to get online when she wants to.

Sunday was spent cleaning. Egads! I am so glad I follow Flylady, even if it is very loosely. Our vanity top was ... just filthy! Now it sparkles and I love going in there. Laundry was done, bathroom cleaned, mopped, vacuumed, dusted, picked up and put up, and the kitchen cleaned! Daniel mowed the lawn. I feel like I got so much accomplished.

Rich grilled burgers on Sunday, so that freed up a lot of time on my part.

Monday, June 01, 2009

Menu Monday

Monday - I have bonco - the family is eating leftover burgers and salads and mac n cheese. (we tend to eat our burgers without buns, so salad on the side instead of ON the burger.)

Tuesday - Baked chicken, carrots, potatoes, rice and gravy.

Wednesday - Fajitas with the timmings.

Thursday - chicken pot pie using up leftover chicken.

Friday - Cheeseburger pie or homemade pizzza - depends on who is home :)